1056 Moonstruck

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Roscoe
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#26 Post by Roscoe » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:17 am

Lowry_Sam wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:03 am
My mother's comment during the Awards ceremony wasn't meant as an insult. We actually had watched the Sonny & Cher show regularly & enjoyed it. Her comment was that her performance in that film didn't require great skill. Mind you she was competing with Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, though Fatal Attraction also was that year,
Actually, no, Glenn Close was nominated for FATAL ATTRACTION that year -- Close was nominated for DANGEROUS LIAISONS the following year, and lost to Jodie Foster.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#27 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:10 am

Lowry_Sam wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:03 am
My mother's comment during the Awards ceremony wasn't meant as an insult. [...] Her comment was that her performance in that film didn't require great skill.
One might argue that...this is indeed an insult. Oftentimes the performances that are the most effortless required incredible skill. We take for granted that one can just naturally appear as oneself on camera in a film. Even the most charismatic person in real life can look dull and dismal on film. There's no lack of critics who have made these points.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#28 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:45 pm

I don't see Cher playing herself. As Ribs stated she is not Italian, plus she was raised in California. I don't see any connection between Cher and Loretta Castorini. She was excellent in portraying all the nuances and quirks of that Italian American character. I get the sense that Lowry_Sam had less of a cinematic connection to the New Yorky Italian American famiglia experience and chose to express it through Cher's performance

I am thrilled this thread by and large has been very positive about this release. It's one of my favorites from the 80s (probably top 10 if I make a list)

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domino harvey
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#29 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:36 pm

Let’s say it’s even true (which I don’t agree with). How many Chers are there in the world? One. What’s wrong with rewarding Cher for being Cher if that was everyone’s favorite perf that year? Like some others have weighed in, I think Holly Hunter deserved it more that year, but you can’t get very upset about Cher winning (or so I thought), as it’s a very warm and likable perf. Who else in the industry would have played the role as well that year?

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colinr0380
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#30 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:05 pm

Also if we play the game that the Oscar goes to the actor who had a string of fine performances that did not get honoured previously Cher had been in Silkwood and Mask, and 1987 was really her peak year in cinema since she was also in both Suspect and big popular hit of The Witches of Eastwick. Add the reported quality of Moonstruck itself and the Best Actress momentum seems almost overwhelming and unstoppable in that situation.

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criterionsnob
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#31 Post by criterionsnob » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:07 am


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jazzo
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#32 Post by jazzo » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:23 pm

Would have also accepted "Beaverstruck"

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domino harvey
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#33 Post by domino harvey » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:53 pm

If I ever abuse my mod powers, it will be to banish everyone who posts DVDBeaver links with the word "beaver" inserted into the title. So actually, judges? ***buzzer sound***

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#34 Post by The Narrator Returns » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:08 pm

"Beaverstruck" should be reserved for when DVDBeaver reviews the AC/DC discography.

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barbarella satyricon
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#35 Post by barbarella satyricon » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:44 pm

Toozestruck [-X

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#36 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:52 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:53 pm
If I ever abuse my mod powers, it will be to banish everyone who posts DVDBeaver links with the word "beaver" inserted into the title. So actually, judges? ***buzzer sound***
Some times a little abuse of power can go a long way

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#37 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:53 am


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colinr0380
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#38 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:45 am

I have not had the chance to pick up this disc as yet, but I did catch the film on television over the weekend and have a couple of thoughts about it. The first is that I would be very curious to know how actual Italian-Americans feel about its inter-personal relationships and characterisations, especially in the first section of the film. It all feels extremely heightened to emphasise a certain type of 'passionate Italian sensibility' in that "stumbling and stuttering Hugh Grant eventually becoming the embodiment of Britishness" kind of way. Of course we have to have what appear to be mobsters at the next table over during Danny Aiello's awkward restaurant proposal scene, giving him a bit of a threat when he does not propose properly!

And the Nicolas Cage character of the other brother has quite an intense first couple of scenes, including threatening suicide and kind of forcing himself on his brother's fiancée after 'passionately' throwing a fully loaded table to one side. It is luck that Loretta is into it, I guess, or things could have ended quite differently! The film quickly kind of softens itself after these rather initially abrasive set up scenes, to the extent that I think, although it raises the idea, it ends up rather glossing over any sense of ambivalence towards the idea that Cage's Ronny may initially just taking his brother Johnny's fiancée as a gesture of spite towards his brother more than anything. Instead Ronny is immediately smitten (or moonstruck?) by Loretta and needs her, as she herself is by his wolfish qualities compared to Johnny's more wimpy nature of being under the thumb of women's whims. Johnny seems rather under the thumb of both his ailing mother and potentially Loretta herself and in a way the film seems to have that almost Shakespearean (or probably more properly, operatic) implication about it that there are 'wrong' and 'right' relationships, and that Loretta was saved (or saved herself) from becoming the harridan pushy wife figure at the last possible moment by entering into a more reciprocal relationship than just becoming a mother substitute for Johnny (who gets compensation in the form of keeping his mother for a while longer, in its own kind of Shakespearean deus ex machina scene of her 'magically' recovering from her deathbed and doing the classic Italian thing of going straight to the kitchen to cook for everyone!)

Although I find the initial set up a bit broad, once the film hits its stride post-Ronny and Loretta love scene and Loretta spends time worrying about how to break the news to Johnny I do really like the way that suddenly the film gets really good as it uses all the supporting cast as kind of reflectors of the central relationship. The parent's relationship is going through its own crisis (with adultery), and there is an implication that Johnny is probably more in love with his mother than Loretta (with the suggestion that aren't all men in their own way? Though this may just be down to the 'heightened Italian stereotype' aspect noted above that Johnny does not really manage to escape from).

But I was most interested in the couple of tiny moments with supporting female characters: the co-worker who (a bit bluntly!) voices that she is in unrequited love with Ronny just after the first scene in the Bakery seeing him act insane and demanding a butcher's knife from her to commit suicide with (perhaps she just liked his wild passion? And he probably would have been too much for her in the same way that Loretta would have been too overbearing for Johnny, so she got away with her illusions intact! But at the same time that tiny character may be the one who I feel the most for in the whole film, in going unfulfilled in a film all about the heights of passion) and most interestingly there is a kind of vicarious pleasure that comes across in the sequence of Loretta going to the hairdressers, getting that grey out of her hair (doing the heightened Hollywood thing of the character meant to be going from 'frumpy' to suddenly beautiful but with the actress herself more just going from stunning to gorgeous! Ronny himself also goes from the scruffy wildman look to the smart tuxedo. Maybe its the momentarily restrained and tamed urges that work to create their own intensity, as the passions are sublimated from the characters to instead existing up there on the opera stage for an evening) and then having all the women in the shop being excited for her going off on her date to the opera.

In a way the central love story is treated pretty perfunctorily. The hooking up between Loretta and Ronny happens in a comically quick turn and despite a few qualms in the rest of the film about breaking the news to (the conveniently in Italy at his mother's deathbed for much of the initial action) Johnny, there is no real sense that the film is trying to set up any particular moral dilemma or any particular 'will they/won't they?' dramatics, but is more going for that Shakespearean/operatic sense of there being a natural order to the world and people always know in their gut when they are in relationships that feel right or wrong to them. Perhaps best shown in the arc of the parents, and I can see why Olympia Dukakis was celebrated for this role, as she gets perhaps the meatiest material to deal with as she watches her daughter from the sidelines in a way that makes her re-evaluate her own life and the nature of love itself, especially when her husband (who seems a bit of a bad one anyway with his dubious sales pitch to the couple about their plumbing issues!) starts an extra-marital affair. That however lets Rose have an In The Mood For Love-prefiguring 'what if' scene with the John Mahoney character in the restaurant, in the other most touching scene of the film! Even if it cannot come to anything because the family takes priority.

There is an interesting generational thing going on here, not just in the multiple generations of family members but particularly in the way that the two main older male characters appear to be going through a "May to December" mid-life crisis by getting involved unsuccessfully with women much younger than them: the John Mahoney character with the girlfriend who likes to throw a drink in his face and storm out and the father caught at the opera with a young companion. Which seems to be another element meant to show that the relationship between the older Johnny and Loretta was never going to work out: Johnny was 'aging up' Loretta and turning her into a frump, going to the same restaurant on a routine basis, whilst Ronny got Loretta to get the grey out of her hair and spend a night in the big city with him. Leading to the best shot of the film, of Loretta happily wandering home through the streets in the early morning.

I would probably need someone else with more experience to talk about the difference between Johnny travelling all the way to Italy to weep over his ailing mother compared to Rose's first generation Italian immigrant father living in their house with them. Perhaps that is why Johnny is 'less suitable' in the way that he has always existed outside of that familial structure with other women substituting for the absent mommy, whilst the Castorini family has always been a multi-generational unit inside one single house, constantly brushing up against each other and getting on each other's nerves but in the end still always a family unit. Maybe that's why Loretta's engagement to Johnny was doomed from the moment of the discussion with Rose about Loretta moving out to live with him in his apartment! Instead we get the impression at the end, with Ronny being fed at the kitchen table and the neighbours piling in too (in order to figure out whether there has been an accident with the takings from the business or whether Loretta has intentionally done a Marion Crane in absconding with their money, rather than taking the more drastically impersonal action of calling the cops on her straight away!), and especially that final pan away from the crowded kitchen into the empty front room and to the photos on the mantlepiece, that Ronny will probably end up moving into the Castorini home with everyone else, strengthening the family and wider community rather than breaking it apart.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:49 am, edited 5 times in total.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#39 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Jun 01, 2021 11:54 am

First off, John Patrick Shanley wrote the screenplay. You may ask what does an Irish American know about the nuances of an Italian American family and culture. He grew up in the Bronx and lived across the street from an Italian American family whom he befriended, became close too and was always around them. Even spending some holidays (American term) with them. So he got a first hand look into how they lived and loved.
The first is that I would be very curious to know how actual Italian-Americans feel about its inter-personal relationships and characterisations, especially in the first section of the film.
As myself, an Italian American, who have recollections of my Great, Great Grandmother who came from Sicily with her some of her very young children, one was my Great Grandmother, a hundred and twenty years ago. The closeness along with the characterisations of the family portrayed in the film is very accurate to what used to be the way things were. Not so much anymore. This may seem foreign and almost absurd to young generations of what was referred to as Italian Americans. This is much less of an identifier today.

Shanley does take liberties with adding melodramatic moments like when Ronny first meets Loretta by the ovens and he threatens to kill himself. But I think Shanley smartly ties this into the opera we see later on the film creating it's own operatic story line. Also, the scene at the airport where that little old woman puts a hex on the plane because her sister who was on the flight stole her man years ago was funny but the sentiment and emotion was spot on. I've heard my Great Grandmother put hexes on people she thought did her wrong. Of course they never worked. Thankfully. Shanley does capture the males almost obsession with the mother figure that is portrayed by Danny Aiello's Johnny which is an accurate read. The mother in the Italian American family was always the strength. The scene towards the end when they are sitting around the table and Rose seems to make Cosmo shrink like a little boy says it all about the structure of the family.
There is an interesting generational thing going on here, not just in the multiple generations of family members but particularly in the way that the two main older male characters appear to be going through a "May to December" mid-life crisis by getting involved unsuccessfully with women much younger than them: the John Mahoney character with the girlfriend who likes to throw a drink in his face and storm out and the father caught at the opera with a young companion. Which seems to be another element meant to show that the relationship between the older Johnny and Loretta was never going to work out: Johnny was 'aging up' Loretta and turning her into a frump, going to the same restaurant on a routine basis, whilst Ronny got Loretta to get the grey out of her hair and spend a night in the big city with him. Leading to the best short of the film, of Loretta happily wandering home through the streets in the early morning.
This is also an accurate portrayal. Older men with younger women whether was an out in the open relationship or as a mistress was a more common occurrence than it is now. Italian women had no alternative but to deal with it because of the Catholic Church and religious beliefs. Divorce or leaving was out of the question. So men knew they could get away with it, especially when the midlife crisis reared it's ugly head. But this is also true in Italian (Italy) culture. Think of Fellini films, amongst others. Endless stories of older men with younger women.
I would probably need someone else with more experience to talk about the difference between Johnny travelling all the way to Italy to weep over his ailing mother compared to Rose's first generation Italian immigrant father living in their house with them. Perhaps that is why Johnny is 'less suitable' in the way that he has always existed outside of that familial structure with other women substituting for the absent mommy, whilst the Castorini family has always been a multi-generational unit inside one single house, constantly brushing up against each other and getting on each other's nerves but in the end still always a family unit. Maybe that's why Loretta's engagement to Johnny was doomed from the moment of the discussion with Rose about Loretta moving out to live with him in his apartment! Instead we get the impression at the end, with Ronny being fed at the kitchen table and the neighbours piling in too, and especially that final pan away from the kitchen into the empty front room and to the photos on the mantlepiece, that Ronny will probably end up moving into the Castorini home with everyone else, strengthening the family and wider community rather than breaking it apart.
That's exactly how it was. That house, the home was the center of their world. The older generation encouraged their children to stay even after marriage, if not at least live nearby. Your read on Ronny ending up living in the family house was right on. If the story continued that's most likely what would've happened.

On a personal note, when this film came out in 1988, I went to see it with two of my buddies and one brought his mother along with her friend. She was Italian and grew up in the neighborhood that Moonstruck took place in. She even knew the bakery they used. After the film, she said the film and the characters was extremely authentic. She said it was like watching her own family. And I think a lot of Italian Americans felt the same

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colinr0380
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#40 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:44 pm

Thank you for the added context FrauBlucher!

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jazzo
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#41 Post by jazzo » Tue Jun 01, 2021 5:10 pm

As a close geographical (150 km of sea!)/cultural cousin to my Italian-American friends, I would absolutely agree with FrauBlucher that the majority of Moonstruck rings very true to my Maltese-Canadian life growing up in the late 70's and early 80's. Family, food and religion were everything, sometimes to the detriment of living the reserved domestic suburban life my Protestant mother expected. Even after coming to the spiritual realization in my early teens that spirituality and all organized religion meant sweet fuck-all to me, my life was still enveloped by loud family dinners at my grandparents' house three times a week, where my cousins and I would help my Nannu tend to his small garden, walk his dogs, help him shop for cheese, listen to his ghost and war stories from the homeland while he loaded cigarette tubes with tobacco, and tend to the 20 illegal rabbits he kept in his garage, at least until it was time to put one down for my Nanna to cook the Sunday feast. Then we would get the fuck out of that garage in a hurry.

Life was very big back then. Moonstruck is a strikingly honest portrait of my experiences.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 1056 Moonstruck

#42 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:52 pm

jazzo wrote:
Tue Jun 01, 2021 5:10 pm
Family, food and religion were everything
I didn't even mention the food. It was the center of familial gatherings. Food and eating was always a part of any celebration, even post funerals. Moonstruck shows that aspect so well. The MGM disc had a wonderful supplement about the food in the culture. I wish Criterion ported it over. Jazzo, you pretty much nailed the big 3 in the order I would list

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